'He lived life to the fullest': Remembering COVID-19 victim one year into the pandemic
KITCHENER -- Flags were lowered at half-mast at Waterloo Region buildings to remember those who have died from COVID-19.
It's been one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
In Waterloo Region, 236 people have died from the disease. One of them was 77-year-old Ezeldine Abdallah.
His family remembers him for his strength and resiliency.
Abdallah was 77 when he died.
Last February, his home was destroyed by a fire. No one was hurt and his daughters said Abdallah's strength and humour helped the family get through that tragedy.
"He was resilient, he lived life to the fullest and didn't let things get him down," Rana Korousic said.
"He was just always laughing and making jokes and just saying 'Oh well, it's just stuff. I can't see it anyways, so I don't really care," Mona Abdallah said.
Ezeldine spoke to CTV Kitchener about losing his vision back in 2018.
He was known as a hardworking family man who often enjoyed coffee and a doughnut for breakfast with his loved ones.
Korousic said their family had one last memory of that on March 13, 2020.
"We laughed and we joked," she said. "It was how it always was with him. I wish I would have known that was going to be the last time I was going to see him."
Ezeldine came down with a fever a few days later and tested positive for COVID-19. He died on May 1.
His daughters hope their father's fighting spirit will help others get through the pandemic.
Ezeldine's children, including his son, Maher, said he shaped who they became as adults and recognize many others feel the same way about loved ones lost to COVID-19.
"Yes, it's just one person, but that one person means so much to so many people," Mona said. "It's one death too many."
Ezeldine would have celebrated his 50th anniversary with his wife, Zeina, last month.
His family also hopes people who haven't lost someone in the pandemic continue the fight to stop the spread of the deadly disease.